Compare VPN Providers
VPN Comparison Chart 2020
So here it is the comparison chart you’ve been waiting for. Check it out:
This VPN comparison spreadsheet consists of what we believe to be the most critical parameters that determine the level of privacy and security a VPN is capable of offering to you.
If you don’t see a factor that you think we should be considering or want us to include a specific VPN brand which we may have overlooked, please feel free to mention it in the comments section below.
This blog is the culmination of all the hard work and research we performed over two weeks, generating the chart shown above.
But this article won’t analyze each specific VPN in detail. For an in-depth evaluation of VPNs, have a look at our page on VPN reviews of 2020.
Our VPN Comparison Criteria
Comparing products is a painstaking process. You have to make sure your unconscious biases don’t influence your judgment. After all, meeting consumer expectations is what separates a good product from a poor one.
We use a variety of factors to compare VPNs. However, we mainly consider factors related to privacy, focusing on the jurisdiction, and logging. Below is a list of some of the most important factors we consider in our comparisons.
Don’t worry. You can find a glossary of all the terms you might find difficult to understand in this blog.
- Logging Policy
- Server Network
- Customer Support
Countries with Online Censorship & Heavy Surveillance
One of the main drivers behind the increasing demand for VPN services is online censorship, the laws for which vary by country. Generally, censorship laws are quite lenient in most European countries.
But elsewhere in the world, in certain regions of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, online censorship can assume downright Orwellian proportions. The top ten countries with the worst online censorship situation are (in no particular order):
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
If you’re living in one of these countries, using a VPN becomes an important tool for exercising your right to access to information and freely express your opinions without persecution or negative repercussions.
We don’t know of any VPN that has jurisdiction in these locations, but if you see one, please stay away. You might end up exposing yourself to privacy invasions and constant online surveillance of your data.
Similarly, there are countries that conduct extensive domestic surveillance of citizens, eavesdropping on their communications, and data shared through the web.
In fact, there’s an alliance of intelligence-sharing countries who have on-going surveillance programs and have a history of encroaching the privacy of their citizens. These are discussed below.
Five Eyes Alliance
The Five Eyes Alliance includes the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The Snowden documents disclosed these Five Eyes countries, highlighting their involvement in conducting mass surveillance programs on the citizens of each other’s countries.
The implications of such alliances are dangerous and antagonistic to the privacy of citizens. As such, if you use a VPN service located in these Five Eyes countries, then your activities on the web can be easily traced and your data acquired by agencies.
Nine Eyes Alliance
The Nine Eyes is an extension of Five Eyes and includes four more countries in addition to the five countries. The 9 Eyes countries include France, Norway, Netherlands, and Denmark, which collaborate with the Five Eyes in intelligence-sharing and gathering.
The Fourteen Eyes is a further expansion of this growing list of nosy countries interested in collecting data of citizens. The 14 Eyes countries include all the nations of the nine eyes in addition to Sweden, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Belgium.
To learn more about the role of these countries in performing invasive surveillance on people, you can read our detailed article on Five/Nine/Fourteen Eyes.
Glossary of Terms
Following is a glossary of terms you may need to understand in order to compare the services compared in the VPN spreadsheet above.
jurisdiction refers to the laws of a country that a VPN is obligated to follow. Generally, this is the country where a VPN’s headquarter is registered. So, for instance, if a VPN is headquartered in the US, it will have to keep some logs and comply with the local laws. However, a VPN that is headquartered in Panama or the British Virgin Islands is not obligated to keep any logs.
IP address logging
Keeping a log of your original IP address and/or the VPN IP address longer than your session duration. These logs can be used to trace a user. Think of an IP address as your home address. It is unique and can easily identify where you’re actually located in the world.
Traffic logging means keeping a log of your browsing and other activities on the web. These are the most intrusive kind of VPN logs. If someone wishes to track what you’re doing online, they can easily do that with the help of traffic logs or activity logs. That’s why VPNs that do keep traffic logs, often sell it to third parties.
Keeping a record of download and upload bandwidth you have consumed over a given period. These types of logs are less intrusive. Bandwidth logs are mainly kept to ensure the quality of service and fair usage. However, some VPN keep bandwidth logs for throttling purposes. Speaking of throttling, you may find our bypass ISP throttling guide useful.
Keeping a log of the time and date of your connection, disconnection, and any other event that you performed while using the VPN service. This along with IP address logging seriously pose a threat to your privacy, as it facilitates a hacker or agency to trace your identity and even your physical location.
DNS logging refers to the storing of logs of DNS requests made from a user’s computers/device. This information can reveal your location. DNS logs can also allow someone to launch attacks against you through methods like data theft, denial-of-service, and command-and-control.
IP leaks refer to an incident when your IP address starts leaking despite being connected to a VPN. This is why renowned VPNs come with builtin leak protection to prevent IP, DNS, and WebRTC from leaking. The ability of a VPN to prevent IP addresses and DNS of the user (client) from leaking to the web. This is tested via ipleak.net.
It basically explains how fast a VPN is. All VPN services in this chart are qualified as either “Fast”, “Average”, or “Slow”. Below is a criterion for grading the speeds of any particular VPN:
- Fast – VPNs with less than or equal to 30% drop in the base connection speed
- Average – VPNs with higher than 30% but less than 50% drop in the base connection speed
- Slow – VPNs with higher than 50% drop in base connection speed
Kill switch is an essential security feature built into VPNs that can cut off your internet in case your VPN connection experiences a temporary loss. This ensures your security is kept intact and your IP doesn’t leak on the web. Top tier VPNs offer different levels of this technology ranging from system-wide kill switch to application kill switch.
The number of devices a VPN can simultaneously support. If you can secure multiple devices with just one subscription then your VPN supports simultaneous connections. Renowned VPNs offer anywhere between ten (10) to unlimited simultaneous connections.
As you can tell from our hefty VPN comparison guide, choosing VPNs is not am easy task. Just check out our comparison spreadsheet. It took us so much time to compile it. But you have to admit it, it’s really helpful when deciding which VPN to got for.
So there you have it guys. We hope you now have a little more respect for how to we meticulously review different VPNs for you guys. If you have any suggestions or questions, let us know in the comments.